Do you have difficulty calming the mind and getting into a deep meditation? Does “monkey mind” keep haunting you getting you to think of anything and everything about yesterday, today, and tomorrow?
Having a meditation warm up and the right attitude can be very helpful, similar to when we do a workout, our body benefits by doing a warmup first. If we take a couple of minutes to center and “prepare” ourselves, our meditation will be more pleasant and quiet.
It took me a long time to learn these little “tricks” as I was probably the “queen” of monkey mind, which is why I decided to write this blog.
Calm Your Body and Breath
Our mind, body, and breath are interconnected, thus relaxing the body and taking slow deep breaths will calm the mind. The parasympathetic nervous system (otherwise known as the rest and digest system) gets activated, and as a result the stress response will be calmed. That is why, in Yoga we work with postures and breathing.
As you begin, take three to five full breaths – breathing in through the nose, and out through the mouth. Make them as long, even, and deep as possible. Then breathe out slowly trying to keep your inbreath and outbreath the same lengths. As you breathe in, center yourself in the present moment and as you breathe out, consciously relax all the muscles in your body, letting go of all tension. Pay special attention to relaxing the jaw, throat, tongue, and forehead.
Think Happy Thoughts
By generating happy thoughts right before your meditation, you are sending a message to your brain that all is well and it need not be restless. When our mind is joyful and content, it is naturally calm and peaceful.
Here are some tips:
· Think of things you are grateful for
· Tell yourself that you chose peace and all is safe and well in this moment
· Feel good that you are taking time to heal, grow, and master your mind
· Kindle feelings of love and compassion in your heart by thinking of someone you love deeply and the joy they bring to your heart.
· Allocate a safe and quiet place for your meditation and remove anything that may interrupt your practice such as your mobile, pets, etc.
Set Your Intension
Taking a few moments to just focus on your intension before practice can do wonders for your meditation.
Here is an example:
“For the next few minutes, I will only focus on my meditation. There is nothing else for me to do and nothing else for me to think about during this time. I now quieten my mind…”
Positive affirmations are powerful: “I can do it. I will do it. I am going to do it.”
Be the Observer
During your meditation, try to observe your thoughts as if they are a cloud passing by in the wind, know they are just thoughts and picture them passing through and going away.
Be gentle with yourself, for decades you have trained your mind to be distracted. It will take some time to retrain your brain.
Teach your mind to appreciate the joy of concentration by actually picturing that feeling of the joy of a peaceful calm mind.
According to the Buddha, joy (piti) and happiness (sukha) are two of the five factors of meditative absorption (jhanna). The more you learn to open up and enjoy your meditation, the less reasons there are for the mind to get restless thinking of other things.
Mind Still Wondering?
When our minds are listening to something, it is quiet which is why sometimes guided meditations are good and then get into the silence from there. However, sometimes it is still difficult to quiet the mind. I found that if I played some soft music preferably without words, my mind will quieten down and be in a beautiful space. There are times when there is just too much going on in our lives to get into that quiet space it may just be best to get up and try again later.
The Lucia Hypnagogic Light is an invention created by two doctors, one of which had a near death experience when he was young. This created an interest and years of study on light and the effects of light on the brain.
They eventually created the Lucia No3 Light which initiates electrical activities in the brain by integrating light patterns at different levels and intensity. This leads to a reorientation in the functional network of neurons in the brain, activating and intensifying the activity the pineal gland (part of our endocrine system) through the retina of our eyes.
The quality and quantity of light that is received by the pineal gland is significantly responsible for the feeling of happiness, the releasing of harmonizing hormones, and is responsible for regulating the sleep patterns. As the light assists in rejuvenation and decalcification of the pineal gland, thus optimizing its function. As we know, our pineal gland (third eye) is our “portal” to higher states of consciousness, thus bringing us into deeper meditations.
Give Yourself a Gentle Transition
When your meditation is complete, ease out of it meditation gently, don’t be in a hurry. Keep your mind in the same peaceful state, gently move your fingers and neck, and then open your eyes. This transition helps you bring more of the “meditation feeling” into your daily life.
Be grateful for this time to connect with your higher self and let your higher self know you will return.
By acknowledging the goodness in our lives it helps us connect to something larger than ourselves as individuals–whether to other people, nature, or a higher power”. By being grateful to ourselves for taking this time to reach inward and upward, it leaves us empowered and at peace for the rest of our day.
I highly encourage you to then take some notes about how your meditation went. This helps you solidify the meditation journey. It also develops a greater understanding of the workings of the mind, the mechanics of meditation, and how your meditations are evolving.
A simple entry could answer these three questions:
· How long did I sit?
· How do I feel now?
· How was my mind during meditation?
For the third question, you can note things like how many times you got distracted, what types of thoughts or feelings were you experiencing, and for how long you could keep focused.
It is good practice to do your meditations at regular times in your day and in the same location as your energy remains there. Once you get into a momentum of regular meditations, you will be amazed how it will eventually be with ease and grace that you get into the silence and connect!